Release Info: Andre Williams - Movin\' On - Greasy And Explicit Soul Movers
After spending the '80s and much of the '90s out of the public eye and in a drug-induced haze, Andre Williams made a striking comeback with 1998's monumentally freaky Silky, and since then he's firmly established himself as the dirtiest old man in R&B, cutting wild albums with musicians young enough to be his grandkids. However, while all this was going on, most of Williams' classic sides from the '50s and '60s were dead out of print, and many new fans had to learn about the man's musical history through hearsay. Movin On: Greasy and Explicit Soul Movers 1956-1970 is the first compilation that makes a reasonable attempt to document Williams' estimable musical history (at least up until 1970), and it opens with six great sides he cut for Detroit's Fortune Records. The sound quality is primitive and the accompaniment sometimes sloppy, but Williams is several steps past lascivious on "Bacon Fat," "Jail Bait" and "The Greasy Chicken," and while more Fortune sides would be welcome, this certainly shows that the sex-crazed stomp of Williams' recent work had a clear precedent in his back catalog. The rest of the set is devoted to later soul and R&B tracks Williams wrote and produced from 1965 onward, and while these sides feel a lot more conventional (and most are instrumentals), there's plenty of major league groove in these songs, and the eccentric cover of " "I Heard It Through the Grapevine," the tall tale of "Cadillac Jack," the hard-rockin' fancy talkin' of "Chicken Thighs" and the frantic sax honking of "Rib Tips (Pts. 1 & 2)" prove his wilder impulses were never far from the surface. An extensive collection of Andre Williams' Fortune Records singles remains on the want list of most fans of vintage R&B, but Greasy and Explicit Soul Movers 1956-1970 is a step in the right direction, and it's a fine introduction to the cream of his early work. Points added for an entertaining booklet featuring Williams' very colorful memories of his life and career; it's full of typos but has dozens of great tales of life in the music business.